In 1963 Mr. John Dickenson, then living in Grafton, N.S.W, Australia, invented the aircraft type that revolutionized the sport of hang gliding.
The invention inspired ‘Ultralight Aviation’ globally leading to the development of a global industry worth many millions of dollars, even hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
A carefully study of the evidence also shows that it plays a major role in the commencement of the sport of Paragliding.
John Dickenson’s invention is a milestone on the road of human evolution. John Dickenson did not invent hang gliding, nor did he build the first hang glider and when he set out on the project he did not even intend to build a hang glider.
The thing is that John Dickenson built the best hang glider ever witnessed until that time. John had the complete package. The Dickenson Wing did not boast the highest performance but it had the following characteristics.
The wing flew well with exquisite handling characteristics, it was safe, and it was easy to fly. The Dickenson Pendulum Weight-Shift System provides exquisite feedback so that flying quickly becomes instinctual. This gives the pilot the opportunity to relax and enjoy the experience.
It was easy to pack up and even easier to set up.
It was light; easy to move when set up, and even easier to move when packed up.
It was easily car top-able and it could be stored in a hallway or bedroom. Many lived under houses and in car sheds.
Strong and durable:
It was robust, how many aircraft could handle stalled take-offs and nose-ins, plus botched landings, and then still be flyable with at most a control bar upright needing replacement.
Easy to fly:
It was that simple to fly that people were able to teach themselves to fly. Not all were successful, but many thousands were. Eventually people who figured it out started schools and the rest is history.
Easy to build:
This was something of a problem because although the design was simple to build, there were the rules of physics to be obeyed at all times. Many efforts to home build, and even at times some commercially built designs were dangerous.
By the time Aerostructures stop manufacturing the Skiwings, the glider was a complete aircraft. Aerostructures is another part of this story. Both Bill Bennett and Bill Moyes purchased off the shelf Skiwings from Aerostructures. Many early builders copied these two wings, thinking that the idea came from Bennett and/or Moyes.